Written answers

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Photo of Peadar TóibínPeadar Tóibín (Meath West, Aontú)
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176. To ask the Minister for Health the number of times that pre-legislative scrutiny has been waived in relation to Covid-19 related legislation; the legislation for which this waiver was requested; and the reason for each requested waiver for pre-legislative scrutiny [59172/21]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, this Department has brought five Covid-19 related Acts through the houses of the Oireachtas having received a waiver from pre-legislative scrutiny. These five Acts are as follows:

Health (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 2021

Health and Criminal Justice (Covid 19) (Amendment) Act 2021

Health (Amendment) Act 2021

Health (Amendment) Act 2020

Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in Public interest) Act 2020

Pre-Legislative Scrutiny waivers were requested on the above Acts because of the high degree of urgency attached to placing these legislative bills before the Houses of the Oireachtas for debate and consideration at the time.These Acts were required in order to allow the Government to have available a range of statutory public health measures to manage the challenges associated with the continuing Covid-19 pandemic.

The Deputy may wish to note that another Covid-19 related Bill - the Health and Criminal Justice (Covid 19) (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2021 - will shortly be making its way through the Houses.  The purpose of this Bill is to extend the period of application of a number of public health related Acts to 31 March 2022 and provide that they may be further extended for up to three months by a resolution passed by each House of the Oireachtas.  A waiver of pre-legislative scrutiny was requested and was granted in relation to this Bill. The reason for requesting the waiver was similar to the reasons set out above in that there is a significant urgency attaching to the Bills enactment.  Without this Bill, key pieces of public health related legislation would expire in the near future and given the difficult winter period into which we are facing, combined with the prevalence of the Delta variant and the recent discovery of the Omicron variant, it is clear that the Government needs to maintain the range of statutory public health measures available to them, to be able to respond urgently, if necessary, to this ever evolving situation.


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